Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Portrait of the Believer as a Big Stupid Cow

Jon Katz says a little and reveals a lot about the value of faith:

I had an unsettling realization recently, which is that my steer Elvis already has the spiritual equanimity I have been seeking. He is comfortable within himself, has no discernible anxiety, rolls with life as if it were a gentle wave, is uncomplaining, generous and loyal to his mate, and trusts and accepts people.
In these ways Elvis the cow matches every cow I've ever experienced: unhurried, tranquil, complaisant, self-satisfied, and above all, trusting of others -- all the way to the slaughtering pen.

I agree with Katz that these are all charming traits for a cow to exhibit. Who would ever want an uptight, hypercritical cow bitching about the crab grass and the lack of shade? As I sometimes do with my cats, Katz converses with his cow:
"We are going over a cliff, it seems," I said. He turned his enormous brown eyes upon me and looked back to the fence, back at the pastures beyond, back at less fortunate cows who lived in barns, ate silage instead of fresh hay, slept on mats on concrete, and would shortly go to market.

It does not really matter, he seemed to be saying, and I agreed.

This, I think, is the spiritual center of animals like Elvis, the thing that they can teach us and show us.
It may be that this is what "spiritual centers" truly are, when properly considered: the mentation of a creature with extremely limited capacities. By and large, cows don't know what's going on, have no awareness of not knowing, and don't care.

Translated to human terms, it's the portrait of someone zonked out on antidepressants, lobotomized, or both. Pass the donation plate and the salt lick!

(via The Devil's Harlot)

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